Who owns the field?

 

Is it the one who is named in the deeds

whose hands never touched the clay

or is the one who gathers the sheaves,

 

takes a scythe to the thistles, plants the beech,

digs out the dockweed, lays the live hazel?

Is it the one who is named in the deeds

 

or the one who pulls ragwort on his knees,

lifts rocks into a cart, splits larch for stakes,

the one who gathers the sheaves,

 

slashhooks the briars, scatters the seed,

cuts his hand on barbed wire, hangs the gate?

Is it the one who is named in the deeds

 

or is it the one who could surely lead

to where children made a hiding place

in an old lime tree. He gathers the sheaves.

 

Is it the one who tends cattle and sheep,

and can tell you how the field got its name?

Is it the one who is named in the deeds

or is it the one who gathers the sheaves?

 

Jane Clarke

 
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